- Associated Press - Saturday, August 8, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Fundraising has started for a statue and plaza to memorialize John Gilbert Winant, a former governor of New Hampshire, an ambassador to England during World War II and the first head of the Social Security Administration.

The bronze statue of Winant with his coat over his arm and hat in hand invites passers-by to sit on a park bench and spend some time with him. It will be in front of the New Hampshire State Library in Concord.

Before he served as governor in the 1920s and 1930s, Winant was elected to both the New Hampshire House of Representatives and the state Senate.

He was a decorated pilot in World War I and led the International Labor Organization in the years leading up to World War II.

He was known to quietly give 50 cent pieces to homeless people in Concord during the Depression and implemented a minimum wage, public works projects and welfare aid.



As an ambassador, he would walk throughout London after bombings, personally assisting people on the streets of the capital.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill called him “a friend of justice, freedom and truth” and an “inspiration.”

“John Gilbert Winant was a devoted public servant - to New Hampshire, to the country and internationally,” said Rep. Steve Shurtleff, chairman of the Winant Memorial Committee. “It is fitting that a memorial to him will portray one of his greatest strengths: treating people of all kinds with the respect they deserve.”

A sign at the plaza is scheduled to be unveiled on Friday.

___

Online:

www.winantmemorial.org.

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